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2 couples killed in Bahamas plane crash

March 26, 2012 at 5:21 PM

TREASURE CAY, Bahamas, March 26 (UPI) -- Two Florida couples died when their single-engine plane crashed just after taking off in the Bahamas, authorities said.

The couples' six-seat, single-engine Piper Saratoga, bound for Jacksonville, Fla., crashed Sunday near the runway at Treasure Cay's airport on Abaco Island.

The victims -- Dennis and Janie Sartoris of Jacksonville Beach and Gregory and Janice Schwartzenberger of Neptune Beach -- were in the Bahamas, where they had homes, making preparations for the marriage next month of the Schwartzenbergers' son, friends told The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union.

The couples had worked on preparing the Sartorises' home, which had been damaged in a storm, to handle an overflow of guests.

An officials said gusty winds were blowing at the time of the crash, the Bahamas Press Web site reported.

The two men were pilots and co-owned the plane. The plane had landed in the Bahamas Wednesday after flying from Craig airfield in Jacksonville.

Sartoris, 61, and his wife, Janine, 56, owned DCS dental lab in Jacksonville.

Gregory Schwartzenberger, 60, owned EC Concrete in Jacksonville.

Friends said the couples had known each other more than two decades.

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